A woman allegedly passed off fake $100 bills to three Greenport businesses Wednesday, buying cheap items and pocketing the change, business owners in the village said.
Rita Winkler, owner of Vines and Branches on Front Street, said a woman and a young child walked into the store about 3:50 p.m. Wendesday and purchased a body care product. The woman handed over a $100 bill and left with the change, Ms. Winkler said.
It wasn’t until Thursday when she went to the bank to deposit the money that Ms. Winkler learned the bill was a fake.
The theft was the first time someone had passed counterfeit money during her six years in business, she said.
Both Ms. Winkler and nearby business owner Rena Wilhelm said two other businesses, Goldsmith’s Toys and Di Angela Leather were also targeted on the same day.
Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley confirmed an active investigation has begun into the suspected counterfeiting and said the department will likely release additional information once the report is finished.
In the meantime, Ms. Wilhelm posted surveillance footage to social media to warn other North Fork business owners in case the counterfeiter strikes again.
“It’s lousy, and it really shouldn’t happen, [especially] running around with a little kid while you’re doing it,” Ms. Winkler said.
Surveillance image: Greenport business owners alleged this woman passed a fake $100 bill at Vines and Branches. (Credit: Rita Winkler)